Mauritius is working closely with airlines, including South African Airways, to transport more people from the African continent to experience tourism and investment on the island.
The move is also intended to help people on the continent to integrate and share ideas while making Mauritius the preferred holiday destination instead of the Americas, Europe or Asia.
The Director of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Mr Kevin Ramkaloan, said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic on Thursday.
This formed part of activities lined up for two media houses in Ghana and key travel and tour agencies in Ghana to explore the tourism potential of that country.
The five-day visit under the auspices of South African Airways, Ghana office, is also designed to allow the group to experience the rich culture and tradition and the most of the luxury hotel apartments on the island, visit places of interest and ascertain the investment opportunities thereof.
Led by the Country manager of South African Airways, Ghana, Mrs Gloria Yirenkyi, some of the places visited so far included the Botanical Gardens where all tree species could be found, the Sugar Museum which is a converted sugar factory into a massive Museum attracting hundreds of visitors a day and the water front of the luxurious Zilwa Hotel, one of the nine hotels run by a company called Attitude, The African Leadership University among others.
“We have all it takes to host people from Africa and that is the more reason why we have opened up our doors for people to come and experience what we have,” he said.
He said Mauritius had some of the best luxury hotels comparable to any in the most advanced countries in the world, capable of meeting the needs of visitors from the continent, and added that the island hosts lights festivals, which attracts up to 450,000 people from all over the world.
“We host the best festivals where we display the rich culture and tradition of the Mauritius people, host world-class international conferences, attract groups and couples and families to experience the best of the country and most of all boast of security for the visitors,” he added.
Mr Ramkaloan said with tourism leading as the largest contributor to the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there was every indication that the country was focused and well positioned as far as tourism was concerned.
For instance, tourism contributed more than $1.6 billion to the economy last year with a potential increase by an average of 10 per cent because of the level of seriousness the authorities have attached to the sector.
He described the island with a population of less than a million-and-half people with about 40 per cent of the land covered with sugar plantations, as unique in all fronts with some of the best beaches.
“We have water sports and people have the opportunity to ride jet skis under water, host wedding ceremonies under the sea, among many others. What we do here is amazing and it is not for nothing that we have positioned the island as the best and most affordable tourist destination,” he added.
The Sales Executive of South African Airways in Mauritius, Madam Jessica Huet, said the airline had also positioned itself to be the most preferred airline to help transport visitors from all over Africa to experience the island.
She said the airline was promoting the unique activities of the island such as sports, including golf and cycling; and medical tourism where it had liaised with some medical institutions to offer the best medical care for the most dangerous illments.
Madam Huet said although the airline was in competition with other airlines, it had always remained unique because of the affordable tickets and the services rendered by the airline.
She said the airline was also working closely with travel and tour agents to design appropriate packages for families, groups, couples, among others, to fly to experience the diversity of Mauritius.